Wednesday, December 26, 2018

What I Gave for a Minimalist, Frugal Christmas

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Ah, the post holiday hangover.  I hope everyone had a great Christmas!  Is anyone else back at work today?  I am.  But my train ride was relatively quiet so it seems like a lot of people got the day off.  I'm jealous of their extra day to recover.  All around though, it was a nice, quiet Christmas here.  I've definitely come to appreciate that more and more as I've gotten older.

I also don't love giving gifts - at least not clutter-y ones.  I'm so adamant about keeping only what we love in our home that I wouldn't want to burden someone else with something they don't need or really, really want.  You would think this would make Christmas shopping difficult, but it's not at all.  I'm even able to keep it semi-frugal (considering that I only buy for adults with expensive tastes - looking at you Eric and your $250 box of Goose Island Bourbon County beers.)  Wondering what I gave and what I spent?  Well, even if you weren't, I'm here to tell you anyway:

My parents are easy, because they never want anything.  For my dad, I got a set of Florida oranges that shipped just before Christmas for $35.  He has a thing for oranges.  And also a Cubs winter hat, to match a Cubs jacket we got him a couple years ago, for $31.  For my mom, I got some huge wine glasses from Crate and Barrel that she loves, but she broke most of the other ones that she had.  Those were $30.  For the dogs, I got one BarkBox for $30 and split the contents between my parents' two dogs, Hawkeye, and John's family's dog, Thor.  Man, I'd get off easy on Christmas if I didn't have a boyfriend with a big family!
For Betsy, I got her Smashbox Primerizer.  I actually got it free from a friend who works at Sephora.  It's something she said she wanted, and it's something that will get used up, so I thought it made a good gift.  For Ida, I got her the cat shirt she requested from Holly for $28.  For John's brother, Ericm I already mentioned that we went and got the beer he wanted on Black Friday, so he's had his gift for a month already.  That was a doozy, $250, but it was from both John and I and also his birthday gift (which is in March.)  For John's parents, I got them exactly what they asked for - a black sweatshirt with the logo of the team John coaches for his dad ($35) and a lamp for his mom, so she can complete her set in their living room.  (It's from Lowe's, I think it was $30, but no more than $40.)

And there's the set that I usually exchange gifts with, but we opted out this year.  Megan, Tara and I decided on no gifts.  With Julie (John's sister) and Beth (Eric's fiance), we decided to skip the gifts and instead have a girls night in January or February, when all the holiday craziness dies down.  I did get them both mugs with some hot cocoa ($9 each but bought with a Target gift card), and $25 gift cards to local restaurants, which my dad had gotten at his retirement party and never used because he doesn't use gift cards, like a crazy person, so they cost me nothing.  I figure we can use them during our girls night out.

And that's it!  So total, without Eric, I spent under $200.  If I count my half of Eric's gift, and divide that in half again since technically half is his birthday gift, I spent just $250 on Christmas gifts for everyone but John.

John is a different story.  Gifts is high on his list of love languages, which can be difficult for me because it ranks exactly 0 on my list.  He loves opening things on Christmas so I tried getting a bunch of smaller things but still, they add up.  His blender was the one more expensive gift ($110), but then everything else was smaller and either necessary or fun and necessary, including: meat marinades, jeans, a black belt, whiskey, whiskey glass, cigars, golf shorts, Iowa basketball shorts, socks, a hanging shelf unit for his firehouse locker, skull shot glasses and ice cube trays (for next Halloween!), pajama pants, and a metal wall hanging of the fire department symbol.  All told, about $300.

I still don't think that total is too bad, but I hope to do even better next year - under $500.  I'm going to make a little gift closet or at least tote box for some things for John that I can get on super sale throughout the year - the trick will be to finally learn to keep a secret.

How did you fare on Christmas this year?  Spend more or less than you intended to?  

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